The Kurdish President told the crowd that they are going to cast their votes on “September 25,” the first indication that the Kurdish leadership have not yet agreed to postpone the independence vote, despite a meeting earlier in the day with foreign representatives who presented an “alternative” to postpone the vote. Prior to going to Zakho, diplomats from the United Kingdom, United States and United Nations met with Barzani at a coordination center in Duhok, just 5 kilometers away from the frontline when the war against ISIS began in 2014. “The visiting delegation presented an alternative in place of the holding the referendum on September 25.
President Barzani received the alternative and welcomed constructive dialogue.
But regarding the referendum and the presented alternative, he said that ‘it is not just my decision, and we will discuss this issue with the leadership of Kurdistan and will announce our stance in the near future,” the statement from the presidency read. Barzani, who has attended several rallies outside of the capital of Erbil and most recently in Akre, has been an ardent supporter of Kurdish independence. He explained in Zakho that any “alternative” that does not guarantee the people of Kurdistan an independent state is not acceptable, something Barzani said they have been demanding from world powers since day one. Barzani slammed the votes by the Iraqi parliament Tuesday and Thursday that respectively rejected the Kurdish referendum and voted to remove the Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim, a Kurd, from his post after the oil-rich province voted to join the independence vote. Barzani called the decisions by the Iraqi parliament a clear example that best manifests the rule of a “political majority” whereby Shiite and Sunni Arabs who form a majority in the parliament continuously and consistently vote against the Kurdish minority.
He said that they do not accept an alternative that only calls for postponing the referendum without offering a guarantee that the people of Kurdistan would establish an independent Kurdistan. Barzani added that they will determine the fate of Kurdistan “on September 25,” as he said that the majority of parties in Kurdistan agreed to the stated date and that no one single person or party can change that.Barzani’s remarks mean that the High Referendum Council is the right authority to study the presented alternative.
The Council first announced in a June meeting to hold the referendum on September 25.